Hearing in Court for Tunisian Opposition Leaders
The Appeal Court in Tunis has started hearing an appeal against prison terms imposed on a leading opposition figure, Hamma Hammami, and two colleagues.
The men have been sentenced to over nine years for being members of the outlawed Tunisian Communist Workers Party.
According to the BBC, The last time the men appeared in court, in February, they were dragged away by police and imprisoned without getting a hearing.
A heavy police presence outside the court allowed access only to accredited journalists and observers, including several from foreign human rights groups which have called for the defendants' unconditional release.
The men - Hamma Hammami, Abdeljaber Madouri and Samir Ta'amallah - were convicted in absentia of dissident activity three years ago, when they were in hiding.
They gave themselves up on the outset of February 2002 to challenge their convictions but their retrial soon descended into chaos.
Witnesses said the men were dragged away by police, to re-emerge later with torn clothes and complaining of having been beaten.
The judge then upheld their convictions and the men were taken to prison. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)